Friday, March 16, 2012

Project Dredmon underway

Goddamn it was an awful commute today. On Fridays, Unitrans runs on the weekend schedule and I can't take the bus both ways, so if I don't bike, I'm missing class. Well, I had an important essay to turn in today, so come Hell or high water I had to be there or risk failing the course. Turns out it was high water. It was pouring all day. I had a raincoat, yeah, but when you're biking for fifty minutes in the pouring rain, you might as well wear a raincoat into a swimming pool because it'll do you about the same amount of good. I was drenched to the bone when I staggered back into my apartment. Then I changed out of my soaked clothes and rummaged through my bag to see which of my possessions had been ruined by the water. The Kindle was okay, but the bike was making some unpleasant squeaky noises towards the end, so fingers crossed. All my papers are damp, but since it's finals week now that's not really important. My wallet got wet on one side, but it didn't have enough time to soak through, so I think it'll be okay.

Anyway, I've been wading through XML files all morning for my new Dungeons of Dredmor/Pokémon crossover mod project. "Project Dredmon", I guess you might call it. After a few stumbles, I'm proud to announce that both the Bulbasaur and Magikarp lines are fully functional!

Magikarp is sort of a joke--I set it up so that the first four levels are complete blanks that only give you joke abilities that do no damage. But if you get past that, you evolve into Gyarados and instantly get a big stat buff, followed by heavy-hitting spells Dragon Rage (40 damage, of course, plus some AoE for crowd control) and Hyper Beam (fires in a straight line across the whole screen, decimating enemies and destroying walls).

Bulbasaur has some interesting magic spells that I haven't playtested, but they seem fun--he's got some snaring and damage with vine whip, draining with leech seed, AoE with Razor Leaf, and it culminates in Venusaur's Solarbeam, which is a lot like Gyarados's Hyper Beam except that it stuns enemies rather than breaking walls. I'm not sure how powerful this set is, but it's certainly possible that the numbers will have to be tweaked either up or down.

And I'm ironing out some bugs with Charmander. The Charmander skill is showing up in all the interfaces, which means I got the basics okay--usually if something is really screwed up, the mod doesn't show up in the game at all, or parts of it are missing. Charmander is showing up fine, which is a good sign. But the abilities aren't working right. Rage is supposed to boost offense when you get damage, but instead it's not having any effect at all, and I haven't figured out why. And I wanted to make Flamethrower attack enemies in a straight line directly in front of you like in Smash Bros. Brawl, but it's doing a weird thing where it attacks some seemingly random set of squares, so I'm going to have to check it against the Thibault's Trompement code to see what I did wrong.

Once I finish with Charmander, Squirtle is next, and we'll see where it goes from there. This is a lot of emulation and trial and error, and I'm sort of excited to see what comes of it. You already got a glimpse of my brainstorming in my last bit. I want to get some mods up and running before I start making more blueprints, though, because it's too easy to sit on the sidelines and make imaginary skillsets than it is to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty in the XML. Creating a working mod is tougher than thinking up a hypothetical one, but it's far more rewarding, both in the satisfying feeling when it works perfectly, and in the real, quantifiable, hands-on experience with basic coding stuff.

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